Bill C-16 stalled in the Senate: take action for transgender human rights

Trans* people are ministers and leaders in the United Church and across the country. They are members of our families, our loved ones, our friends, colleagues, and neighbours, and they deserve to have their identities protected by the law. As an Affirming Conference, we invite you to support Bill C-16 through the United Church of Canada’s action.

Bill C-16 would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression. It will also amend the Canadian Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression as a recognized group when offences are motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate.

Bill C-16 passed its third reading in the House of Commons in November 2016, and is now in its second reading in the Senate. Some groups are actively campaigning the Senate to block this bill. Please take action by contacting your senator as soon as possible, and urge the Senate to make Bill C-16 law.

Saskatchewan Senators:

Raynell Andreychuk

Denise Batters:

Lillian Eva Dyck:

David Tkachuk

Pamela Wallin:


Defying hatred: Moderator statement on the mass murder of LGBT people in Orlando

Hours after Saskatoon’s Pride parade ended, we heard about the mass murder of LGBT+ people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  This hate crime is now the biggest mass shooting by a single person in American history.  It joins the murder of over 300 Lakota people at Wounded Knee in 1890 as a deadly expression of hatred and dominance.

In the words of our Moderator, “If there is a word of hope to be uttered in the face of such tragedy, this is it: When we stand together in defiance of hatred, we are stronger and we are safer.  No act of violence can strip us of our humanity—particularly when we respond to homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia with love.”

Please read the Moderator’s statement and use it in worship:

Click here to read and share Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble’s statement on the Orlando hate crime, and feel free to use this at Sunday worship and anywhere else.

If your ministry is Affirming, or feels that it can be in respectful solidarity with LGBT people and communities, please prayerfully consider how you can express that solidarity.  Affirming ministries in the Conference can help; they include all the congregations listed here, as well as River Bend Presbytery, St. Andrew’s College, and the Conference itself. Our public witness to God’s unconditional love is needed.

Affirming Sunday Resource for May 1

This May 1st, honour inclusivity by using our Affirming Sunday resources in worship.  Eastside United in Regina has written resources for us this year. Click here to see the resource.

Being an “Affirming” United Church means fulling including LGBTQ people and communities in the entire life and work of our church. Saskatchewan Conference is Affirming, and has an additional ten Affirming ministries within. Several others are in process.

Holding an Affirming worship this May, or at any other time, sends a crucial message of welcome and support to a community that is too often excluded from church circles.

To find out more about becoming Affirming, see the Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble website:

The Intercultural Network welcomes new supporters! To get in touch with co-conveners Cindy Bourgeois and Yvonne Terry, email Julie Graham at

Courageous Witness

Courageous Witness: River Bend Presbytery article on visit with Korean partner congregation

River Bend Presbytery is an Affirming ministry in central Saskatchewan. Last fall they sent a delegation to South Korea as part of their many years of mutual work on deepening their relationship with Incheon Presbytery of the United Church of Canada’s global partner, the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK).  They met with the SumDol Hyanglin Church, one of the very few congregations in the PROK to fully welcome gender and sexual minorities.  Rev. Laura Fouhse’s shares the story of this courageous congregation here; read a very sobering overview of LGBTQ+ rights in South Korea here.

Affirm United Jan-Feb 2016 Newsletter

Have a look at Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble’s January-February newsletter, and its news and resources from around the country and across the church. Of special interest to Saskatchewan Conference: Our own Rev. Cindy Bourgeois and Wesley United Church in Regina are featured!
Here’s the link:

You can subscribe directly to the newsletter through Affirm’s website:

Julie Graham
Program Staff for Education and Mission
Saskatchewan Conference, The United Church of Canada
Home office: 306-244-2157

Participate in the Blanket Exercise

Explore the 500 year relationship between indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through an experiential activity and conversation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016   from 1:30 to 3:30pm
Queen’s House of Retreat & Renewal Centre
601 Taylor St. W., Saskatoon, SK

If you are planning to attend, please contact us at  by January 26 so we can have a good estimate of participant numbers.

Optional Conversation to follow:
Theology and Culture from 3:45 – 4:45pm
Building on the Blanket Exercise and other experiences, an opportunity to reflect on how culture shapes theology as people of faith relate across cultural differences.

Blanket Exercise facilitators:  Julie Graham and Dory Cook.  The Blanket Exercise was
developed by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC), one of ten ecumenical coalitions the churches brought together to form KAIROS in 2001.
Sponsored by Canadian Churches Forum

This opportunity, open to the wider public, is a part of the week long program, “Engage Difference! Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry”   Can’t make it to this event?  To bring the Blanket Exercise to your community, contact Saskatchewan Conference Mission and Education staff Julie Graham at

For a poster for this event, please click here .